HORSES TO WATCH
- SILVER COWBOY – Hugh McMahon has a reputation as one of the sharper horsemen in the business when it comes to finding bargain claims, and it looks like he may have found another diamond in the rough with Silver Cowboy. McMahon claimed Silver Cowboy for $10,000, and the grey runner paid immediate returns in his first start for his new barn when he blitzed a field of starter optional claiming runners going six furlongs. His 1:10.57 final time and :24 final quarter are indicators he’s more than capable of handling a rise in class next out.
- KING KOA – Tried to loop wide in the middle stages of a paceless race and finished honestly, but the the leaders were too fresh for him in the drive. If he catches a group with some early speed in it, he’s worth a long look.
- PIKACHU PRINCESS – Steadied along inside to the stretch then angled off the rail and was up for second. A cleaner trip and quicker early pace would make this one a factor next out.
- SARAH’S TREASURE – Closed fast late behind a soft pace, is a dead honest filly and her only subpar races lately have come on the turf.
- BE HUMBLE and JACK OF SPADES – This pair of unraced 2-year-olds worked a half of :48.60 in company from the gate on 12/14 and don’t look to be too far away from seeing action.
- CONCORDIA’S WAY – Posted a solid half of :49.00 on 12/16 and looks to be coming up to his second start since August 6 in good form.
- IN ARREARS – This one comes off a solid second in an optional starter sprint and his quick drill of :47.00 for trainer Brandon McFarlane on 12/16 signals his readiness. He’s entered against similar on December 23.
- BLAME IT ON HONEY and OWEN’S WAY -The Anthony Farrior trainees worked five furlongs in company in 1:01 on 12/17. Blame it on Honey was third, beaten less than a length after being hung in the parking lot most of his last race 11/25 while OWEN’S WAY was second at Mountaineer in his most recent.
JOCKEYS AND TRAINERS
Jevian Toledo continues to roll along, following up last week’s seven wins with six this week. Those six wins came from 24 starters, and Toledo has all but wrapped up the meet riding title at this point. He has 58 wins to date, 21 more than Feargal Lynch (37) in second, with Sheldon Russell (35) in third.
Lynch also had a good week in more limited duty, capturing five races from 12 mounts. Those wins — three more than Russell had — enabled Lynch to leapfrog him for second in the overall standings. Apprentice Franklin Ceballos and veteran Steve Hamilton each won four races, Ceballos’ four wins coming from just 10 starts.
Veteran Edgar Prado has left Maryland for the sunnier climes of Gulfstream Park. He has had a solid meet to date, winning 23 times — tied for seventh overall — with a nearly 23 percent strike rate. His earnings per start — more than $8,200 — is tops among the colony’s busiest riders.
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Trainer Scott Lake has had his share of ups and downs both personally and professionally in the 30 years he’s been training thoroughbreds, but there’s been one constant through the years: the man knows how to win races.
Lake is less than 200 wins shy of the 6,000 mark in career wins, and last week the veteran horseman showed once again he knows how to get the job done, as he sent four horses to the post at Laurel Park over the racing weekend and three of those starters won. Just as has been the case often during his career, the betting public often fails to give Lake runners the attention they might deserve. The wagering return on investment for his three winners was 232 percent. That helped boost what had been a sluggish meet for Lake, who entered the weekend with three wins from 41 starts at the meet.
Five conditioners each won a pair of races during last week’s racing as trainers Anthony Farrior, Tim Keefe, Hugh McMahon, Rudy Rodriguez and Tim Woolley each sent out a pair of winners.
In the meetlong standings, Claudio Gonzalez holds a solid lead with 27 winners, seven more than Dale Capuano and Kieron Magee.
TRACK BIAS REPORT
- 12/15 – The surface was wet and partially covered with snow periodically throughout the afternoon, and the strip’s condition changed several times during the course of the card.
- 12/16 – Track played reasonably fair with speed runners and those stalking outside seeming to enjoy the most success.
- 12/17 – The surface again placed fair with the portion of the strip from three to the six paths being the portion of the track riders seemed to prefer when either stalking or advancing.
- 12/18 – Again the strip was pretty fair with one change from the weekend. Runners racing along the inside seemed to be more comfortable, and several runners tucked in along the rail were successful making their moves inside.